The U.S. Navy confirmed the authenticity Monday of video footage leaked on social media over the weekend showing a fighter jet crash aboard an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea last month.
The 51-second video shows the rear of the F-35C Lightning II erupt into flames as it hits the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, before sliding the length of the carrier and dropping into the water at about 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 24, Navy Times reported.
Leaked video of the F-35C crash on Carl Vinson, a classic case of ramp strike by the most advanced fielded fighter jet pic.twitter.com/wVl5nLI1bN— Fighterman_FFRC (@Fighterman_FFRC) February 6, 2022
A Navy spokesperson confirmed the video’s legitimacy to Stars and Stripes on Monday. The footage began circulating Sunday on Reddit and Twitter.
“There is an ongoing investigation into both the crash and the unauthorized release of the shipboard video footage,” Cmdr. Zachary Harrell said in a prepared statement obtained by Navy Times.
The video appears to show the jet’s pilot, one of seven sailors injured in the crash, ejecting as the $103 million advanced stealth fighter skidded across the carrier, but Naval officials have not yet confirmed when the pilot ejected, the military news outlet reported.
According to Stars and Stripes, the Japan Coast Guard issued a maritime navigational alert Jan. 29 for salvage operations in the South China Sea, indicating that the 7th Fleet is moving forward to recover the jet.
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